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When the Storm is Over

When the Storm is Over

Residents should use caution when digging out from the storm. Excessive snow shoveling can cause a range of health problems, from back injuries to heart attack, if not done in moderation. Residents should not over exert themselves and should take frequent breaks from shoveling. * This snow storm has dropped more than a foot of snow on the ground and on roofs, so homeowners are advised to check snow pack on their own roofs and to remove snow if necessary and if it can be done safely to avoid a collapse. Whether or not your home will require snow removal depends on a number of factors, including the amount of snow on the roof, and the age of the roof. Newer roofs are able to withstand more weight than older roofs, for instance. Homeowners are encouraged to assess the risk of collapse, while being mindful of the risk of personal injury before removing snow from roofs. A contractor could be helpful in assessing the need for snow removal. Rhode Islanders who are able to help elderly neighbors and others who need assistance in removing snow are encouraged to do so. Residents are also asked to check on the welfare of elderly neighbors and those with special needs during the storm. * As always, it is advisable to have an emergency preparedness kit on hand with some or all of the following items:

* Flashlights and batteries in your home and car; * A battery-powered radio or NOAA weather radio to listen for advisories; * Bottled water; 1 gallon per person, per day is advised; * Non-perishable food for the home and car; * A first aid kit.

Carbon Monoxide Risks

* It is critical as snow piles up to ensure all outside heating vents are clear of snow. A blocked vent can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home and CO poisoning. Prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal, so it is imperative that vents be cleared as a blocked vent can create the danger of CO poisoning. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu, but without the fever and may include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department for assistance from a safe location. * If power is lost and you run a generator, it is important that the generator is outdoors; an improperly operated generator can lead to CO poisoning; check your owner’s manual before operating a generator. * Also ensure your generator is installed according to manufacturers’ standards; an improperly installed generator can feed back onto power lines, creating a hazard to line workers.

Travel Safety

* If while traveling you get stuck in deep snow, do NOT let your engine idle if your exhaust pipe is buried. Idling with a buried exhaust pipe also risks carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. * Other tips for the road

* Check road and weather conditions before leaving. * Avoid traveling unless necessary and always allow yourself extra time to get to your destination. * Make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition with snow tires and winter windshield wiper blades. * Watch for and expect changing road conditions, black ice, blowing snow, high winds or whiteout conditions can appear when you least expect them to. * The single most important rule is to drive at a speed that matches the prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions. The posted speed limits are for dry, clear conditions only. * Be sure to leave yourself plenty of extra room, extend the following distance from other vehicles ahead. * If your car doesn't make it to your destination, pull as far off the road as possible, to minimize any further traffic hazards, and stay in the car. Even a short walk in winter storm conditions can be dangerous. * Carry a cell phone and use 911 in case of an emergency, but do not become over dependant on a cell phone.

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